Staying sober requires much dedication and commitment. It is difficult to stick with something if you feel physically weak and worn out. This is why healthy eating and exercise are so important during recovery. In order to maintain sobriety and improve the health of your mind, it is also important to work on physical health and wellness.
Develop a Recovery Diet Plan
A recovery diet plan is important because it provides the individual with energy, helps reduce sickness, reduces cravings, and helps the person look and feel better. Because those who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction typically do not take care of their bodies through healthy diets, transitioning to a balanced diet will yield drastic results from the first day.
The diet of someone in recovery should be hearty enough to provide the energy needed for a day full of activity and rehab, and filled with vitamins and nutrients to help heal and sustain the body. Excessive substance use over months or years attacks the body’s immune system and makes it difficult for the person to absorb the nutrients they do get, and it hinders the person’s ability to process foods. The results are poor appetite, weight loss or gain, gastrointestinal ailments, and mood swings. If poor eating habits are carried into recovery, they can actually impact the person’s ability to stay clean.
As the individual cleanses their body of the toxic substances they have been using, they need reparative nutrition to rebuild their health. A balanced diet of protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, as well as limited sugar and caffeine will provide the vitamins and amino acids the body needs to heal and stay energized.
Benefits of a healthy diet during recovery include:
1. Repair of damage to organs and tissues.
2. Improved immune defenses.
3. Increased energy.
4. Improved mood.
5. Reduced risk of relapse due to fatigue or depressed mood.
Recreation & Recovery
Staying active is another important part of whole-body wellness during recovery. Rehab can be physically and mentally demanding, with counseling and therapy sessions throughout the day. It is important for those in recovery to implement a balanced diet to their daily routine, but also a recovery exercise program that will increase energy, improve mood, and boost the body’s immune system.
Exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which help improve mood and increase optimism. This combination greatly impacts an individual’s ability to stick with a recovery plan and avoid relapse. A healthy exercise and recreation plan can actually help the individual through the tough days and keep them on the right track to sobriety. Developing a healthy regimen during recovery also sets the foundation for sober living long after rehab is finished.
Staying active through a gym work out is just one way for an individual to build strength and endurance. Other activities such as hiking, playing sports, swimming, yoga, and just getting out and enjoying nature all play an important role in recovery wellness.
Benefits of exercise during recovery include:
1. Improved mood.
2. Increased energy.
3. Improved immune system.
4. Increased strength and stamina.
5. Reduced risk of relapse due to depression or mood swings.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Taking care of yourself during recovery means more than quitting your substance and going through talk therapy. It means engaging in a program that will help you improve all aspects of your life, including your physical condition, emotional wellness, relationship stability, and spiritual health. It means learning what you put into your body impacts the way you face your day, and nutritious meals and moderate exercise are important to long-term healing.
A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and vice versa, which is why it is so important to focus on whole-person wellness during and after recovery. Many who struggle with poor motivation and with relapse find that when they step back and look at their entire being, neglect of physical wellness contributes greatly to long-term sobriety.
Endorphin & Chemical Release Assist with Cravings
There is a scientific explanation as to why nutrition and exercise help with recovery. When we eat certain foods and when we exercise, our body naturally releases endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals of the brain. This natural process is hijacked during addiction, when drugs and alcohol cause the body to release large amounts of these chemicals, leading to a feeling of euphoria. Someone who is addicted to substances is addicted to the endorphin rush they feel when they get high. Over time, the body is not able to produce endorphins like they should, and instead, they rely on substances to feel good.
With proper nutrition and exercise, the brain begins to release endorphins at a healthy level again. This helps create balance in the individual as they detox from their substance and learn how to live without the chemical effects of drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, the release of endorphins helps to decrease cravings, as the body is naturally doing what substances did for them in the past.
As a person evaluates their life and their overall wellness during addiction recovery, it is important to consider giving up other harmful habits as well. Smoking is not only harmful to the body; it is an addiction that controls the person’s actions. While many people believe they should be allowed to continue smoking while going through the difficult process of addiction recovery, others see this as an opportunity to get clean from all vices that impact their wellness.
Smoking cessation during drug and alcohol rehab is beneficial because it allows the individual to quit all harmful activities and start new with a healthy lifestyle they can live with long after rehab. It aids in sustained sobriety and helps prevent a relapse because it improves the person’s foundation for substance-free living.